We joined a community of more than 500 B Corps to announce our commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 at the December COP 25 in Madrid. We’ll tackle this in two ways.
Our offices are already carbon neutral. Other areas that will be part of [carbon] reduction include packaging, bottling, logistics and farming
Firstly, by reducing our own emissions across our whole business and value chain. Our offices are already carbon neutral. Other areas that will be part of reduction include packaging (light weighting and using more recycled material), bottling (encouraging all our bottling partners to use renewable energy), logistics (alternative fuel vehicles – electric and compressed natural gas), and farming (working with our farmers to explore ways of lower carbon farming).
Secondly, we will balance the rest of our emissions using a gold standard offsetting partner, and offsetting in a way that can invite others to join us.
Did COVID-19 affect your sustainability journey?
If there was ever a time to accelerate on sustainability it’s now! We’ve continued to look ahead and challenge our ambition – to the extent that just last week, we signed off, with our board, the next phase of our sustainability strategy looking to 2023 and beyond. We’ll be sharing our tangible targets soon.
If there was ever a time to accelerate on sustainability it’s now!
Working with many suppliers, inside and outside the UK, how do you stay sustainable?
We do this by spending time with our suppliers and walking the fields, so we can truly understand their local context. For example, we wanted to help our farmers grow their mangoes as sustainably as possible. To do this, we worked closely with our suppliers to implement a program that focused on the key challenges mango farmers face. After several years of visiting and talking to our farmers, we were able to implement the FSA (Farm Sustainability Assessment)3 standard at scale. This resulted in a 48% increase in their yield in comparison to conventional farming and an 80% reduction in chemical costs. With better working conditions on farms, like toilets and waste chemical container collections, farmers are also ﬁnding pickers more easily during harvest time.
With the global food disruption of COVID-19, how did you manage to maintain your supply chain?
Our partners in our supply chain, and in retail, have performed heroically. We feel fortunate that we are less badly affected as a business than many, whilst our sales are down materially, we are selling healthy products mainly sold through grocery channels, which affords us a level of protection that others don’t have.
…we are selling healthy products mainly sold through grocery channels, which affords us a level of protection that others don’t have
How do you address the use of plastic in your products?
Two major issues facing the world today are climate change and plastic pollution. The good news is that there is a way to tackle both of these issues together. And we’ve been working on this since 2003 by building a circular economy.
All our drinks bottles and cans are 100% recyclable. The plastic we use in our drinks bottles is 100% recyclable, lightweight and robust. From a climate perspective, plastic has a much lower carbon footprint than, for example, glass, which would increase our carbon footprint overnight.
We also work with the industry to advocate for better recycling systems and well-designed deposit return schemes, for example the UK Plastics Pact. Being transparent, we know that the recycling infrastructures, in a lot of areas in Europe, are completely broken. So we work with like-minded partners to fix this recycling system by tackling the management of plastic pollution.
We’ve been working on this since 2003 by building a circular economy. All our drinks bottles and cans are 100% recyclable
What can we expect from a post-COVID Innocent?
The response to COVID-19 shone a light on what a creative bunch we have at Innocent – everyone responded with agility and determination – and generosity. One of our values is generosity and we are proud that, between Innocent and our foundation, we will be able to give at least €1million to support people directly affected by this crisis, mainly through our existing relationships with Age Concern charities across Europe.
What do you do in your life to reduce your carbon footprint and be more sustainable?
I think for me it’s trying to embrace this philosophy of everybody doing their bit. I’m really committed to recycling. If I’m in a city and I buy something and I can’t see a recycling bin, I keep it with me, even if that means it’ll be in my suitcase for a couple of days. I have almost an aversion of not being able to recycle something. Also being conscious about travel. It’s all about finding a balance between taking an entire day to travel by train and taking the easy solution of flying. Also, my latest mission I’ve set for myself, is to reduce my food waste. It’s a challenge and I’m not there yet”.